The Call You Never Want to Take

When our kids were teenagers, there was always a gnawing fear in the back of our minds that in the wee hours of the morning we would get a phone call telling us our son or daughter was arrested or worse, seriously injured or worse, killed in a car accident. We survived those years and both our kids have gone on to be healthy, productive adults with careers that will, some day, make them wealthier than their parents.

After our kids graduated from college and as we got older, this fear slid farther and father into the backs of our minds. Imagine our surprise when at 0600 on December 20th, 2015 the phone rang. The date and time is seared into my brain. It was a call that no parent ever wants to take.

At the other of the phone was our son who struggled to tell his mother that his wife and mother of our four grand children – had just committed suicide. Our world was just turned upside down. Everything just changed.

The emotional pain was short lived. Both my wife and I know how to grieve. Burying our parents taught us that painful skill. Our daughter-in-law as gone and was never going to come back. We were more worried about our son and our grandchildren and their well being.

My grief quickly turned anger. How could this woman do this to her children? Her husband? Her extended family? Heinous, reprehensible, vindictive are just some of the words that I used to describe her terrible, inconsiderate act. Seven months later, I’m still mad at her. Every time I look at my son, I can see the pain in his eyes.

As grandparents, our focus was helping put the pieces back together and helping our grandkids get back to some semblance of a normal life without their mother. We dropped everything and hustled out to California. I cancelled all the book signings I’d set up for the spring as well as attending several association events, stop writing my blog and working on Inner Look which was in production.

When talking to others about what happened, the best way to describe the situation is to simply say, “it sucks.” Those two words say it all.

January and February were spent dealing with the administrivia – changing beneficiaries, dealing with insurance companies and Social Security, and on and on. The idea was to rip the bandaid off once and get all this stuff done. At the same time, we had to get the kids into a rhythm of a semi-normal life.

Seven months after this life changing event, we can see the positive signs. The kids are adjusting, we’re playing a bigger role in their life and a close family is now a lot closer. And one of the indicators that “things” are returning to normal is that I’ve started blogging again! Hopefully, I’ll be able to add one a week.

Marc Liebman

July 2016